Debut District: Author Interview with Abbie Emmons of 100 Days of Sunlight + INTL Giveaway!

DEBUT DISTRICT is a regular feature on Artsy Draft in which I post appreciation towards debut releases through author interview, book blitz, listopia, review, and other related content.

It’s the release day of 100 Days of Sunlight and I’m delighted to have Abbie on my blog today! 100 Days of Sunlight is an amazing contemporary and I’m so grateful to get the opportunity to read the early copy and share my review about it! If for some bizarre reason you miss the post, you can check them out here and read 100% gushes and rambles from yours truly. Abbie also talked all about her gorgeous debut cover and how she came up with it!

Okay! So today, we’re going to talk all about Abbie’s debut, the characters in it, what inspired her to create them, and also her writing journey and experiences! Also, there will be very minor spoilers in this Q&A! And before I forget, there will be an international giveaway that you’ll not want to miss at the end of this post, so don’t forget to check them out and join! Now, let’s get into it!


Q: Hi, Abbie! Thank you for chatting with me today! First of all, I want to congratulate you for your upcoming debut release, 100 Days of Sunlight! As the synopsis said, one of the main characters is Tessa, a poetry blogger. If you could describe this book with lines from any poetry, what would it be?

A: Hi, Vinny! Thank you so much for featuring me on your lovely blog today! I am thrilled and honored to be here, talking about my debut 100 Days of Sunlight. That’s a great question to start off with! There’s a poem by Emily Dickinson that I feel describes this book well because of the way I feel about it – and the way I feel about every book I write:

“If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain:
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.”

I feel this so deeply! If I can touch one soul with 100 Days of Sunlight, it will not be written in vain. 

Q: One of the things that made me really excited about this story is Weston, the bright and confident boy with no legs who decided to help Tessa to keep blogging and writing poetry during her temporal blindness. Tessa even labeled him as “obnoxious optimistic”. For me, he is such a strong character with strong personalities, despite his disability. Can you tell us a bit what inspired you to create his character?

A: That’s a great question! I love Weston and could talk about his character all day. His character was very much inspired by real people who have gone through similar experiences and not let anything limit them or take away their zest for life – people like Nick Vujicic, Rob Jones, and Travis Mills, to name a few. Their stories, sense of humor, and attitude about life has greatly inspired me – and I wanted to translate that into Weston’s character and journey. I wanted to step into his shoes and experience the emotional journey of loss, recovery, and getting back up when life knocks you down. I also wanted to show how even when a person seems to be happy and optimistic all the time, we can’t really know what personal struggles they face every day. 

Q: A lot of scenes in this book made me all smiley and laugh, while few of them made me tear up too, but all of them are definitely my favorites. For you, which scene is your most favorite and why? Is it because you connected to the scene emotionally or is it because a matter of technicality that it took to write it?

A: Oh this is such a hard question! I love too many scenes in this book. But one of my absolute favorite scenes is the part where Rudy visits Weston in the hospital. I got super emotional writing this scene because I loved the dynamic of Weston and Rudy’s relationship – how they beat each other up and act like tough guys, but underneath all that, they are really two softies who love each other more than either of them would admit. In this scene, I feel like they both let their guard down and it was very sad but adorable to write.

Q: As a big fan of contemporary story, I immediately knew that I need to read 100 Days of Sunlight! And now that I’ve read it, it officially becomes one of my favorite contemporaries of the year! You delivered such an engaging story and made me swoon over these characters and their relationship! Since this is your debut book, are you thinking of contemporary story as your field of expertise and interest or are you planning to explore other genres in the future?

A: Oh my gosh, thank you so much! I’m blushing over here. Contemporary is definitely my favorite genre to read and write, but I do plan on branching off into other genres in the future! You’ll definitely see some more contemporary stories from me… but I might just surprise everyone with a crazy sci-fi or fantasy one day. We’ll see!

Q: In 100 Days of Sunlight, we got to see how Weston played the ukulele and sang one of Tessa’s poems. Let’s say if Tessa was not a poet and he had to sing a cover instead, which song that you think he’d play?

A: Probably Here Comes The Sun or Don’t Worry, Be Happy. I can just see it. 

Q: Also related to the previous question, is there any particular reason why Weston played the ukulele in this story? Because I assume (not to sound creepy and like a stalker for watching your older Youtube’s videos, lol) it’s because you also play ukulele yourself. Or is there any other reason?

A: Haha I’m honored that you’ve watched some of my older videos! Yes, I definitely have a special place in my heart for the ukulele, since I do play it. It’s such a fun, sunshiney instrument that’s pretty simple to learn, and I knew Weston wasn’t the type to learn a complicated instrument, so it was perfect for him! (Plus it’s a very cute image, Weston playing a yellow ukulele…)

Q: If (and when, excuse me while I’m too excited over here!) 100 Days of Sunlight is getting adapted into a movie, which actor/actress that you imagine will be part of the cast? Personally, I keep portraying Sadie Sink as Tessa, but I’m contemplating between Noah Schnapp and Asa Butterfield as Weston! 

A: I’m getting so excited over here too!! This would be THE ULTIMATE DREAM come true, so you better believe I think about it a lot. (The fact that you’re thinking about it too makes me so happy!) I keep imagining Elle Fanning as Tessa, and I can definitely see Noah Schnapp as Weston… I fancast my characters wayyy too much haha!

Q: Finally, I think this question will be interesting for other debut authors out there. You are a blogger and you have a Youtube channel where you consistently post everything bookish and writing-related. As someone who has an established community on the internet before releasing your debut, do you think it helps you as a debut author during the process of releasing and promoting your book? Can you share a bit of your experience with us?

A: Yes. It definitely helps sooo much. I feel so blessed to have a community of writers cheering me on and looking forward to reading the book! It’s very surreal. I think pre-launch promotion is even more important than post-launch promotion, especially for indie authors. I don’t want to just release a book and be like “hey everyone please read my book!” I’m more interested in growing relationships with my community, on YouTube and my blog. I love interacting with other writers and sharing experiences, challenges, and triumphs. I want 100 Days of Sunlight to mean something special to my community – because they helped inspire me while writing and editing and, now, publishing it! 

Writing can be a lonely art, even in the process of publishing. That’s why I don’t know where I would be without the WritersLife Wednesday community, and all the lovely people who read my blog. They are my support system, and they constantly push me to be better and inspire me to do the impossible. 

This has been so much fun! Thank you again for having me, Vinny! I loved chatting about all things writing. 🙂


And that’s the end of my interview with Abbie! If you’re looking forward to reading her book, it’s release today and you can find all of the details and information below!

When 16-year-old poetry blogger Tessa Dickinson is involved in a car accident and loses her eyesight for 100 days, she feels like her whole world has been turned upside-down. 

Terrified that her vision might never return, Tessa feels like she has nothing left to be happy about. But when her grandparents place an ad in the local newspaper looking for a typist to help Tessa continue writing and blogging, an unlikely answer knocks at their door: Weston Ludovico, a boy her age with bright eyes, an optimistic smile…and no legs.

Knowing how angry and afraid Tessa is feeling, Weston thinks he can help her. But he has one condition — no one can tell Tessa about his disability. And because she can’t see him, she treats him with contempt: screaming at him to get out of her house and never come back. But for Weston, it’s the most amazing feeling: to be treated like a normal person, not just a sob story. So he comes back. Again and again and again.

Tessa spurns Weston’s “obnoxious optimism”, convinced that he has no idea what she’s going through. But Weston knows exactly how she feels and reaches into her darkness to show her that there is more than one way to experience the world. As Tessa grows closer to Weston, she finds it harder and harder to imagine life without him — and Weston can’t imagine life without her. But he still hasn’t told her the truth, and when Tessa’s sight returns he’ll have to make the hardest decision of his life: vanish from Tessa’s world…or overcome his fear of being seen.

100 Days of Sunlight is a poignant and heartfelt novel by author Abbie Emmons. If you like sweet contemporary romance and strong family themes then you’ll love this touching story of hope, healing, and getting back up when life knocks you down.
 

Title: 100 Days of Sunlight | Series: – | Author: Abbie Emmons | Genre:ContemporaryYoung Adult | Publication Date: August 7, 2019 | Format: eARC | Source: Author | Links: Amazon
Author’s WebsiteAuthor’s BlogFacebookInstagramYoutube


international giveaway!

If you don’t have the access to get 100 Days of Sunlight, then don’t worry! Abbie has been very kind to provide three eBook copies for three lucky winners! You can find more details about the giveaway below and be sure to join asap, because the giveaway will end on August 31, 2019!

a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Are you looking forward to reading 100 Days of Sunlight?

Debut District: Author Interview with Jennifer Dugan of Hot Dog Girl

DEBUT DISTRICT is a regular feature on Artsy Draft in which I post appreciation towards debut releases through author interview, book blitz, listopia, review, and other related content.

Sooo… We’re back at it again with more debut author’s appreciation post! In today’s episode, I have Jennifer Dugan, the author of Hot Dog Girl, a debut contemporary book which will release tomorrow (on April 30, to be exact!). We talked all about behind the scene process of the book, Jenn’s writing journey (I’m quoting her, “It’s not an over-night success!”), and also how Jenn deals with challenges and writing blocks! 

Hi, Jenn! Thank you for agreeing to do this interview with me. Tomorrow, your debut book, Hot Dog Girl, will be released! How do you feel about it?

I am so excited! This is the culmination of almost exactly a decade of hard work, so to see it finally coming together is amazing.

Hot Dog Girl sounds like a really cute contemporary, yet very bold and unique with its main character and setting! Where do you get your ideas and inspirations to write Hot Dog Girl?

I really have no clue where my ideas come from! Scenes tend to just jump into my head—usually mid-shower, when I can’t write anything down. This is… not ideal, ha! For Hot Dog Girl specifically, though, the original seeds were planted while I was visiting a local amusement park. I saw an employee in a princess costume and thought it would be such a fun setting for a book! I knew right away that I wanted to write about a girl who worked there, but I also knew that I didn’t want to write about the princess. I tried to think of what the most ridiculous costume would be, and Hot Dog Girl was born.

I agree! It definitely sounds fun and it really attracted attention! And how long does it take for you to write it?

That’s a tricky question! I tend to draft fairly quickly. In general, I can have the first draft of a novel done within 3-6 weeks. I’m not a plotter at all—something I am actively trying to change—but for now, I need to write the whole book to understand what the story truly is. After drafting, I let it sit for a bit, and later come back to revise. Revising is where the real work happens, and that process takes much longer and involves a lot more planning. I generally do one or two revisions on my own before sending it out to my CPs. And that’s before my agent or editor even sees it! So even though the drafting process is fast, getting it to a completed stage takes much, much longer.

Phew! That’s a lot of steps and works. But do you always know that you want to be a writer? Do you mind to tell us about your writing journey!

I have wanted to be a writer, but there was a period of time in my early twenties where real life got in the way. I did still freelance for various local newspapers during that time, but aside from trying to work in as many puns as possible, I didn’t have much of a chance to stretch my creative writing muscles.

I got back into writing seriously about ten years ago, but I was not at all what you’d call an “over-night success.” It took me many books and countless rejections before I wrote Hot Dog Girl, which is my debut. Things did move quickly for this one though!

I pitched Hot Dog Girl in a twitter pitch event called #DVPit, which helps connect marginalized authors with agents. It got a fair amount of attention and I quickly found myself with seven offers of rep, which was wild after so many years of querying. I ultimately signed with Brooks Sherman, and we went on to sell Hot Dog Girl at auction to Stephanie Pitts at Putnam/Penguin. It was all very exciting and surreal!

Oh my God! What a wild journey! And as you mentioned, you faced many countless rejections before Hot Dog Girl. Are there any particular challenges during the writing process of this book?

In general, this book came very easily to me. It was the first time I really embraced my voice and told the story I wanted to tell versus trying to write to the market or trying to tell the story I felt I was “supposed” to.

However, there definitely was still work to be done. While the voice came easily to me, pacing did not. I have an editorial agent and he was a big help in sorting things out before we went out on submission. My editor is, of course, also a pacing genius and she got us the rest of the way after that. I have learned so much about my craft from them!

That sounds incredible! And speaking of challenge, what do you do when the writing block strikes in?

Since I also write comics, I’m generally juggling multiple projects at a time. If writer’s block hits on one, I tend to step away for the day and work on something else. Most of the time, switching gears like that will help jumpstart the words and I’ll still end up making progress that day.

If I’m having a day where my brain is just not cooperating at all, I take it as a sign I’ve been pushing myself too hard. I will take a day (or more, if deadlines allow) and read a book or watch a movie. I listen to a lot of true crime podcasts too. I’ve found you need to fill your creative well if you want to keep producing content. I have a tendency to embrace the grind, but I’m trying to be more mindful of taking time for self-care. I know it’s crucial for long term success!

That’s a clever strategy! Since you mentioned about reading, what is the first book that made you cry?

I’m not sure if it was the first book that made me cry, but I have VIVID memories of sobbing over Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls in elementary school.

What’s your comfort zone when it comes to genre? Is there any genre that you won’t read for million years?

I tend to read a lot of contemporary, so that’s my go to. I’ve been starting to get into fantasy more in the last few years, too. I can’t really think of a genre I would absolutely refuse to read, but hard sci-fi isn’t usually my first choice.

Oh, hey! We have similar taste in book genre! [high-five!] Now for the rapid question… name your three all-time favorite books, go!

There’s no way I could possibly answer this! How about the last three books I read that I adored and am utterly obsessed with instead? They are, in no particular order, Opposite of Always by Justin Reynolds, You’d be Mine by Erin Hahn, and Wicked Saints by Emily Duncan.

These books sound awesome! And I’m about to read You’d be Mine too! What about your favorite under-appreciated book?

Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke. I adore this book! It should be on everyone’s tbr if it isn’t already.

NOTED! Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It really depends on the day. If it’s an emotional scene, I feel completely wrung out when I’m done. (That happened a lot while working on my 2020 release!) If I’m writing fun scenes or swoony scenes, then I feel like I can take on the world after my writing session.

That makes sense. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I’m really sensitive and have a tendency to get in my own head a lot, so I have to be in the right place to be able to read reviews of my work. I do have friends that send me the really kind ones. I know that reviews are for readers, not authors and that not everyone is going to love my book. And that’s okay!

I love your opinion about book reviews! Lastly, who’d you recommend to read Hot Dog Girl?

Everyone!


And that’s the end of my interview with Jenn! If you’re looking forward to read her book, it will be released tomorrow and you can find all of the details and information below!

Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan

Elouise (Lou) Parker is determined to have the absolute best, most impossibly epic summer of her life. There are just a few things standing in her way:

* She’s landed a job at Magic Castle Playland . . . as a giant dancing hot dog.
* Her crush, the dreamy Diving Pirate Nick, already has a girlfriend, who is literally the Princess of the park. But Lou’s never liked anyone, guy or otherwise, this much before, and now she wants a chance at her own happily ever after.
* Her best friend, Seeley, the carousel operator, who’s always been up for anything, suddenly isn’t when it comes to Lou’s quest to set her up with the perfect girl or Lou’s scheme to get close to Nick.
* And it turns out that this will be their last summer at Magic Castle Playland–ever–unless she can find a way to stop it from closing.

Title: Hot Dog Girl | Author: Jennifer Dunn | Publisher: Putnam | Genre: ContemporaryYoung Adult | Publication Date: April 30, 2019 | LINKS: Book Depository (Affiliate)

Are you looking forward to read Hot Dog Girl?

Debut District: Author Interview with Melanie Golding of Little Darlings

DEBUT DISTRICT is a regular feature on Artsy Draft in which I post appreciation towards debut releases through author interview, book blitz, listopia, review, and other related content.

I’m really excited for today’s post because aside from more of Debut District episodes (we need to give more appreciation and support to debut authors!), it’s also going to be my very first interview! Today, I’m going to share my interview with Melanie Golding, the debut author of Little Darlings, which will be published on April 30, 2019! We talked about the making process of the book (both ups and downs!), what inspired Melanie to come up with this story and also a few fun questions about Melanie’s favorite books! 

Hi, Melanie! Thank you for doing this interview with me. It’s only a little less than two weeks to Little Darlings publication date! How do you feel about this upcoming release of Little Darlings?

Excited, but also anxious – you never really know how it’s going to be received!

From its synopsis, Little Darlings sounds dark and definitely haunting. Where do you get your ideas and inspirations to write Little Darlings?

The book is inspired by a very old, very obscure folktale called A Brewery of Eggshells. It is also inspired by my thoughts about the experience of having babies.

Ah, I’ve never heard of the folktale before but I checked it out just now and that’s one terrifying folktale! And speaking of which, how long does it take for you to write it?

I started the book in October of 2015. We sold it in November of 2017, but it was heavily edited after that before publication and in partnership with my editors.

That’s a long process! Being a writer obviously requires hard works and a lot of dedication. But, do you always want to be a writer? Do you mind to tell us about your writing journey?

I always wanted to be a writer, but for a long time, I only write short stories, poems, and songs. Novels came to me in my late twenties. I have a fair few rejected manuscripts, like all writers. You have to learn by doing.

That’s interesting! Speaking of rejected manuscripts, is there any challenges during the writing process of Little Darlings?

Many challenges! Balancing the different perspectives, grappling with timelines. Pacing, atmosphere. All challenges, but in a positive way.

I can’t imagine how you get through those obstacles to finished this book! Let’s chat about your role as a reader now. What is the first book that made you cry?

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I cry easy.

Yet another book that I haven’t read but I need to ASAP! Anyway, what’s your comfort zone when it comes to genre? Is there any genre that you won’t read for a million years?

I read everything and stubbornly read to the end of everything even if I’m not enjoying it. I don’t feel I can have a proper opinion unless I’ve read the whole thing.

That’s a fair point. I’m also trying my best to explore my reading and not just focusing on one genre! Now… three all time favorite books, go!

Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson. The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson.

And what’s your favorite under-appreciated book?

The Collector Collector, by Tibor Fischer. Actually, it should probably be in my all-time favorites but you only gave me three.

Terribly sorry about the limitation! 😬 But, now I’m about to ask you a far more controversial question. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Yes I read them all, obsessively. I mostly ignore the good ones and think about the bad ones all day. I’ve heard this kind of behavior is to do with evolution, that we have learned to focus on the negative so as to be hyper-aware of the things that might be dangerous. I’m not sure about this theory. I hope the obsessive checking wears off; it’s kind of addictive.

Lastly, who’d you recommend to read Little Darlings?

Everyone. Especially all of the men.

Thank you, Melanie, for taking your time to chat with me about your upcoming debut release, Little Darlings!


And that’s the end of my interview with Melanie! I’m really excited about this book and I’m even more hyped now that I know it’s based on such creepy folktale! I can’t wait to start reading it and if you’re looking for more details and information regarding this book, keep on reading! 

Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.

A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley―to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.

Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.

Title: Little Darlings | Author: Melanie Golding | Publisher: Crooked Lane Books | Genre: MysteryThriller | Publication Date: April 30, 2019 | LINKS: Book Depository (Affiliate)

Are you a fan of mystery/thriller novel which inspired by a folktale? Are you looking forward to read Little Darlings?